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A Man About the House (Blu-ray review) here 1947 / 93 minutes / On sale from 2nd Feb / Cert: PG / Genre: Comedy, Thriller / The British Film (Network) / Director: Leslie Arliss house

Two English sisters, Ellen and Agnes Isit, inherit a Neopolitan villa from their uncle and move to Italy in order to sell the property. Once there, they fall under the spell of the villa’s handsome and charismatic caretaker, Salvatore. The villa was once owned by Salvatore’s family, and he longs to regain ownership of the property; when he marries Agnes, his dream moves a step closer. But Agnes begins to suffer from a debilitating illness, and her sister’s suspicions are aroused…

A slow building crime thriller, A Man About the House has moments of great humour that are matched for quality by fine acting and a interesting plot.

Kieron Moore is the undoubted star as the handsome Italian bit of rough Salvatore who flexes his pecks and winks away at the stuffy Agnes as well as any other woman. He is some what a stereotype of red blooded Italian men that allegedly lust after anything in a skirt. At times his accent is over the time and close to parody (he was actually Irish), yet he makes the role work and the character slowly morphs into something more dangerous.


The plot isn’t exactly original, although it is done well. The wooing of Agnes (Margaret Johnston) ¬†by Salvatore and the subsequent manipulation once the sexually liberated woman is under his spell leads to plot developments not unfamiliar. She has lots of money and land, he wants it for himself at any cost. Agnes is, of course, blind to this as it is the pretty little sister Ellen (Dulice Grey) that becomes wary of her new brother in law.

Some moments are weak or a little too unbelievable (much like Moore’s accent at times, ahem). The family dog that is much loved disappears for large parts of the movie only to conveniently pop up to further the story. Ellen’s romance with the much older family doctor (who lovingly reveals he has known her since she was an infant) is just as much a whirlwind as Agnes and Salvatores yet it seems the viewer should accept this as genuine love.

The high definition restoration by The British Film is crisp and the image shows little sign of ageing.

Funny and dark in places, Moore’s performance enhances an already good movie.

– James Simpson

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